Well, you know it’s the time of the season, and though even Death once took a holiday, Oregon music never does. We can present only a smattering of the holiday music happening around the state here, so check the All Classical Radio calendar for more, let our readers know via the comments section below about other holiday shows worth braving the elements for, and please enjoy Oregon’s abundant holiday music safely.
Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Avenue, Portland.
As part of ART’s interesting new Artists Rep in Concert series, which pairs musical performances with thematically related plays on the ART stages, curator Susannah Mars invited this new trio of crack cabaret/classical/musical theater singers (Matthew Hayward, Norman Wilson and Tim Suenkel) to sing arrangements of holiday music, show tune style.
Third Angle New Music
Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NE Hwy. 101.
The new music ensemble’s string quartet joins former Sitka Center for the Arts director Randall Koch and visiting artists who will respond to the group’s music about nature by creating art in their own media.
Portland Chamber Orchestra, Westminster Presbyterian Church Choir.
Dec. 16, St. Henry Catholic, Gresham; Dec. 18, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Portland; Dec.19, St. Andrew Catholic Church, Portland; Dec. 2o, Lewis and Clark College, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Portland.
Rather than competing with this year’s other two full-length Messiahs, the chamber orchestra wisely offers an alternative: an intimate, modern instrument performance of just the actual part of Handel’s magnificent oratorio devoted to Christmas themes (part 1), and pairs it with other Baroque hits by Corelli (his Christmas concerto, of course), Vivaldi (a recorder concerto featuring soloist Aldo Abreu), and Bach (Brandenburg concerto #2)
December 16, O’Connor’s Vault; December 19, Woodstock Wine & Deli, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the 40th anniversary of the great Portland bassist’s holiday jazz concerts.
“Praetorius Christmas Vespers”
Portland Baroque Orchestra, Trinity Cathedral Choir, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland.
PBO has recently been presenting a few fab concerts in partnership with other regional early music organizations (in Seattle and British Columbia, which both boast strong new music scenes) under the rubric of Northwest Baroque Masterworks, a great way to share the unfortunately scarce resource of period instrument performances with audiences throughout the region. In maybe the most compelling single holiday classical music event of the season, guest director David Fallis from the Toronto Consort leads a string orchestra and other historically informed performers on vintage Renaissance instruments (sackbutts, theorbos, etc.) and 13 vocal soloists plus choir to recreate a 17th century Christmas Vespers celebration that sounds something like it would have in late Renaissance/early Baroque northern Germany as directed by the great composer and compiler Michael Praetorius. The audience will have the chance to sing along with some early Christmas carols, as congregation members might have done back in the day.
East end of the Tilikum Crossing, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Portland edition of the annual, nationwide participatory new music celebration, and read ArtsWatch’s story about a previous edition to get a flavor of what’s in store.
Modern Kin, The Crenshaw, Dragging an Ox Through Water
Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water St, Portland.
This Creative Music Guild benefit for the organization’s 25th birthday features three of the city’s more creative experimental bands, all of which take off from pop music forms like folk, hip hop, country, and house music.
Oregon Mandolin Orchestra
Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 East Main St. Hillsboro.
Guest artist Jordan Ransey, a national award winning crosspicker, joins the locals in music by Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and holiday faves.
“A Circus Carol”
3 Leg Torso, Wanderlust Circus, Alberta Rose Theatre. 3000 Alberta St. Portland.
The annual circus version of Dickens’s classic returns with indie classical stars Eric Stern and Scot Crandal, Portland’s uncategorizable world chamber ensemble, ringmaster Noah Mickens, and more.
First Baptist Church, 909 S.W. 11th Avenue, Portland.
The Portland choir’s always varied program this time includes arrangements of Christmas classics by Portland composer/pianist Naomi LaViolette and composer/conductor Joan Szymko, plus choral music from various traditions.
Bach Cantata Choir
Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, 1907 N.E. 45th Avenue, Portland.
The choir sings music by Baroque and Renaissance composers including Tomas de Victoria, Sweelinck, and the first half of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
December 19, The Jazz Station, 124 W. Broadway, Eugene; December 21, Jimmy Mak’s, 221 NW 10th, Portland.
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of these CD release shows by one of the most promising young jazzers in Oregon.
“The Most Wonderful Season”
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, Eugene.
The 130 voice choir sings music by Handel and Palestrina, Idina Menzel, Pentatonix, Stevie Wonder, and other holiday songs for Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, and Kwanzaa, including Randol Alan Bass’s Gloria, written for the New York Pops.
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd, Eugene.
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of this new production of the 1987 revival of Cole Porter’s exuberant 1934 musical, featuring some of the greatest songs of the era.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
On Saturday, the orchestra performs one of its popular live movie scores, this one to Home Alone, with the film shown simultaneously, while Sunday’s two shows feature the annual Christmas concert’s program of classical and holiday gems.
December 20, St. James Catholic Church, Vancouver, WA; December 21, St. Philip Neri Church, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the stellar female vocal ensemble’s annual holiday performance.
Pacific Youth Choir
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland.
The high school singers, in various choral configurations, sing holiday music.
Healing Voices Choir
St. Peter & Paul Episcopal Church, 8147 SE Pine Street, Portland.
The Vox Academy choir sings music by Morten Lauridsen, Brian Tate, Sibelius, Elgar, and holiday favorites.
An Appalachian Christmas
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
The incomparable Pacific Northwest native and violin virtuoso Mark O’Connor returns for another folky, bluegrassy rendition of Christmas classics, and he’s bringing the family, including mandolinist son Forrest and fiddling wife Maggie, plus other veteran roots musicians.